Hi everyone! In the week between Christmas and New Years (while we all try to stay warm in these sub-arctic temperatures), we wanted to share a super easy DIY braided headband that you can make from one of your old shirts or a shirt you’ve picked up at your local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. T-shirt or jersey fabric long sleeve shirt
  2. Tape measure or ruler
  3. Fabric scissors
  4. Pen
  5. Needle and thread

Step #1: Wash and dry the shirt of your choice

We used a green-blue workout shirt for the entire headband, however, you can use a multi-colored shirt or even multiple shirts of varying colors and textures.

Step #2: Measure and cut three long strips of equal width and length

Once you’ve measured three 1 1/2 inch wide strips, use the pen to lightly mark dots or small lines at the same intervals all the way down the shirt. That way you can connect the dots when it’s time to cut the strips.

Step #4: Let the sewing begin!

Sew the top end of the three strips together. This is also a good time to cut any jagged edges off of the strips to make them more uniform. Also, introducing a fourth strip of ribbon or lace would add a new layer of texture and color to the headband once it’s completed.

Step #5: Begin braiding

Braid until you can’t braid anymore and then sew the end of the three strips together. At this point you have two options, (1) sew both ends of the braid together or (2) add an extra strip of fabric to the end of each side that can be tied together (this is what we did, please see the next picture).

And that’s it! You’re done! Now you have a great headband to wear to your New Years Resolution inspired workout or to gift to a friend. Also, if you’d like to give your headband a little extra pop, take apart an old piece of costume jewelry (you can find some at any St. Vincent de Paul thrift store) and sew in the beads or broach.

Happy crafting!

P.S. – If you’d like to keep up to date with what’s happening at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, make sure to sign up for our enewsletter!

It’s the season of giving — a time to focus on friends and family, being grateful for what you have, and giving back to your community and your world. It’s also your last chance to get a donation receipt that you can use on this year’s taxes.

Whatever your reason for donating, please consider taking your old clothes, small appliances, household knick-knacks, and furniture to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul where they can find new life supporting our neighbors in need. Why St. Vincent de Paul? Here are a few reasons…

#1: Everything old is new again

Your unwanted clothes and miscellaneous items are desperately needed by many of our neighbors who are unable to purchase these items on their own.

Our store locations provide not only a fun retail environment for thrifters; they’re a place for our clients to shop – free of charge once they’ve received a voucher – for basic necessities that match their style and their need.

#2: It’s not easy being green

When you donate items to St. Vincent de Paul, you’re lightening the load on local landfills.  Every year, approximately 250 million tons of trash is thrown away in the United States – that’s about 4.4 pounds per person per day!1

When you donate unwanted items to St. Vincent de Paul, you’re lowering your contribution to our growing national landfill problem.  It’s an easy way to be a little bit greener in your everyday life.

#3: Count on me, I’ll be there

By donating your clothes and household items, you stand by our neighbors in need. Revenue from the sale of your items funds assistance for over 100,000 local people every year – through programs that provide things like food assistance, clothing, furniture, rent and utilities assistance.

One of our premiere programs is Michael’s Place where ex-offenders can transition from prison or jail to independent living. Over the past sixteen years, this program has supported over 300 men as they have returned to their lives, to the workforce, and reconnected with their families. Your clothing donation can do a lot of good for a lot of people!

#4: Make someone happy, make just one someone happy

Your donation will put a smile on someone’s face.  Whether it provides clothes for someone who needs it, funding for a program that provides a second chance, or the joy of finding an unexpected treasure at a thrift store – you are supplying happiness.  You’re bringing joy to the single dad with kids in need of clothes, joy to the young woman recently laid off who’s just trying to get by, and joy to the thrift store enthusiast.

In a world that is seemingly plagued with stories of ambivalence and animosity, donating your unwanted items can bring a smile to someone’s face.

You can donate at any of our St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores during business hours, at one of our donation boxes throughout the area, or you can call 412-321-1071 x1 to schedule a furniture donation pickup.

To keep up to date with what’s going on at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, make sure to sign up for our email newsletter!


P.S. Speaking of smiles – another way to donate to your favorite nonprofit this year (without spending a dime of your own money!) is to shop on Amazon via Amazon Smile. Go to smile.amazon.com and search for the nonprofit you’d like to support (maybe the Society of St. Vincent de Paul?) and then bookmark the page. Every time you shop through that page, Amazon will donate .5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charity of your choice.


1 http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/human-footprint/trash-talk.html

Welcome to our new blog dedicated to keeping you informed about the goings on of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, providing information about our local thrift store operations, and exploring creative ways to reuse, recycle, and renew!

This blog will share behind-the-scenes stories about our programs and history, great DIY project ideas, as well as the impact your donations and purchases make in the lives of our neighbors in need.

But first, here’s some backstory on the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Pittsburgh.

An international Catholic lay organization, we’ve been in Southwestern Pennsylvania since 1852.  Our organization grew out of local parishes, led by Pittsburghers who saw their neighbors suffering and wanted to make a difference in a person-to-person, direct way (these Good Samaritans were the predecessors of our current Vincentians, men and women who assist their neighbors in need in the community where they live).  The early Vincentians collected clothes, food, furniture, and household items from members of their parish and distributed them to local families in need.

The first incarnation of our thrift store operation was in 1920.  Back then it was called the “Salvage Bureau” and it was a more organized approach to collecting the items desperately needed to serve the poor in our area.  Two wagons and horses were donated by Shanahan Transfer Company in order to collect those salvageable items. The donations were stored in a building on the Northside where they were then either distributed or sold in the very first St. Vincent de Paul thrift store. Proceeds from the sales would support those in need, a model that we have continued throughout the years.

Today, we operate six thrift stores in Butler, Castle Shannon, Coraopolis, Monroeville, Sharpsburg, and Swissvale.  Our stores provide clothes and household items to our neighbors in need through our voucher program – allowing our clients to shop free of charge for their own items so that they match their style and need.  The stores also provide important funding for our numerous other programs – when you purchase an item from one of our stores, you are giving back to our community.  The stores, and your patronage of them, are a fundamental part of the operations of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Because of the revenue from our stores, recycling programs, and donations, we are able to support vital, tangible basic needs assistance programs such as clothing and furniture for those who need it, rent and utilities assistance, food assistance, and Michael’s Place, our home of hope and recovery for men transitioning from jail or prison to independent living.

We have relied on the generosity of Pittsburghers for more than a century and you’ve always come through — thank you for your continued support and for everything you do for our neighbors in need.

We sincerely hope that this blog is a place that you visit (often) to learn more about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, get ideas for new projects, and to support our mission.  Stay tuned for weekly posts and follow/like us on these social media platforms:  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

To keep up to date with what’s going on at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, make sure to sign up for our e-newsletter!